A rabbi once offered the following analogy: "Every Jew is a letter in the Torah. But a letter may, at times, grow somewhat faded. It is our sacred duty to mend these faded letters and make G‑d's Torah whole again."
Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak of Lubavitch heard this, and objected: "No, the identity of the Jew cannot be compared to erasable ink on parchment. Every Jew is indeed a letter in G‑d's Torah, but a letter carved in stone. At times, the dust and dirt may accumulate and distort – or even completely conceal--the letter's true form; but underneath it all, the letter remains whole. We need only sweep away the surface grime, and the letter, in all its perfection and beauty, will come to light.''
Who is a Rabbi?
Some Rabbis, he said, are like surgeons and others are like pilots. What is the difference between a surgeon and a pilot? When someone is in need of surgery, G‑d forbid, he will be very cautious and search around for the best possible surgeon. Why? Because his life is at risk, and he wants to ensure that whoever is cutting him open is the most qualified expert in performing this particular surgery.
Why then is it that when the same person books an airline flight, with all the risks of air travel, he doesn't go searching for the best pilot in the world?
The answer is because the pilot is flying together with you on the airplane, and he is exposed to the same risk as the passenger. The surgeon, on the other hand, is not lying on the slab with the patient. If the surgery doesn't go well, G‑d forbid, the surgeon remains intact [except for possible malpractice suits].
Some Rabbis are like great surgeons. They are brilliant scholars, erudite legal experts, eloquent orators. Many of us who see a Rabbi as an 'outsider,' one who is not in the 'same boat' with us, will go searching for the best surgeon. We will look for the greatest scholar and expert. However, there are Rabbis who are like pilots - they may not be the best, but they are in it with us. Our problem is their problem. Our celebration is their celebration.
We are not looking for 'perfect' Rabbis; we are in search of Rabbis who humbly appreciate the value of Divine souls and know that we are all sacred souls struggling in an agnostic world.
The story is told about a pious Jew who, every year for the high holidays, would begin walking by foot to his Rebbe. Now this was no easy task, because the weather was usually freezing and snowy at that time of year in Russia. One year, on a lonely road in the middle of some snowy forest his "batteries finally ran out"; his legs simply would not move another step.
He was on the verge of collapsing in the snow when suddenly he heard something in the distance. It was a wagon filled with large barrels, and it stopped before the freezing Jew. "Hey Moshke!" The wagon-driver yelled " If you can find a place, jump in!" . With renewed strength the Pious Jew gratefully grabbed the hand, and pulled himself up onto the wagon.
After a few minutes huddled between the barrels he was abruptly reminded that he was freezing,. That was when he noticed a small spigot sticking out of one of the barrels. With a shivering hand he turned the handle over the spigot. No, it wasn't wine or oil, , it was...vodka! "Ivan" he yelled to the driver "I need a little of your merchandise here, Can I take a small cup?" "Of course, my friend" shouted the driver over his shoulder. The second cup was better than the first, and in a minute he was warm.
Upon His Arrival to his Rebbe's Court , he immediately gathered everyone around him and said he wanted to tell them something. "Today I learned a very great lesson." He began, . "You know that the Torah is compared to water, right? The Torah is supposed to make you warm and happy, and that is why we need to study with our fellow Jew-- to make them warm and happy. Torah includes all kinds of water, so Kabbalah must be the vodka of Torah, right? ""Well, I just discovered that a Jew,can be surrounded by barrels of Kabbalah , by a sea of Torah, and still be cold, even freezing to death.
"But...if just a little bit goes INSIDE... Ahhh. That is a completely different story! Then he becomes warm and alive. In fact then, he can even warm up the whole world around him as well..."
Birth is G‑ds way of telling you : You matter
All the darkness in the world cannot even extinguish the light of a small candle
Don’t tell G‑d how big your problems are . Tell your problems how big G‑d is .
When the Day comes that I must account for my life, I will not be asked “ Why weren’t you Moses? I was not equipped to be Moses. But I dread the question “ Why weren’t you Zusia ?”
On three things the world is sustained: on truth, on judgment, and on peace, as it is it says (Zechariah 8:16): "Speak the truth to one another, render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace."
(Rabban Shimon ben Gamaliel)
Intolerance lies at the core of evil. Not the intolerance that results from any threat or danger.
But intolerance of another being who dares to exist. Intolerance without cause. It is so deep within us, because every human being secretly desires the entire universe to himself. Our only way out is to learn compassion without cause. To care for each other simple because that 'other' exists.
All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.
The pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, an almost fanatical love of justice, and the desire for personal independence, these are the features of the Jewish tradition which make me thank my lucky stars I belong to it.
To pull a friend from the mud, don’t hesitate to get dirty. (Ba'al Shem Tov)
When you get to be older and the concerns of the day have been attended to , and you turn to the inner life , well if you don’t know where it is or what it is , it can be very sad
Religion helps us not by changing the facts , but by teaching us new ways of looking at those facts
Judgment : God himself does not propose to judge a person until his life is over – why should you and I
If I am I Because I am I and You are You because you are you – Then I am I and you are you . But if I am I Cause you are you and You are you because I am I then I am not I and you are not you
Living in this world we view the back of a master embroidery piece . Mismatched colored strings , knotted and twisted, overlap to form a warped pattern. But G‑d views the other side . Colors blend in unity , each detail perfectly patterned forms a design of the highest quality
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